Orthotic devices are a great tool that can be used to fix a number of common foot complaints such as heel pain. Whether you get an over-the-counter shoe insert from a pharmacy or invest in prescription, custom-made orthotics, you are sure to reap the benefits that orthoses offer.
Store-Bought Shoe Inserts
Shoe inserts can be purchased over-the-counter at your local pharmacy, with no prescription necessary. They can protect your feet and skin, offer support, and provide extra cushioning, but they can’t correct underlying issues that may be behind your foot pain. However, many people find that using shoe inserts help minimize symptoms and ease discomfort. Some common types of shoe inserts include:
- Arch supports: Whether you have high arches or flatfeet you can definitely find pain relief with the use of an arch support. These simply slip into your shoes and follow along your foot’s natural arch.
- Insole liners: These also slip into your shoes to provide extra cushioning. They can be made of different material (gel, foam, or plastic), it just depends on what you find most comfortable.
- Heel liners: These are used most often in people who have thinning fat pads on their heels or suffer from tendinitis or plantar fasciitis. A heel cup fits into the heel area of the shoe and offers more cushioning than just the shoe itself.
- Foot cushions: Extra cushioning or padding can be useful in different parts of the shoe. For instance, if there is a place on your foot that is more prone to friction you can add a foot cushion as a protective barrier. If you have a bunion you can add a protective pad to keep your shoe from rubbing against it and causing pain.
Prescription Custom-Made Orthotics
Custom-made orthotics are specially molded to your unique foot to address your individual needs. Specific measurements are made and then sent to a lab where the devices are made. Since they’re unique to your foot, it’s not recommended that anybody but you wear them. Prescription orthotics come in two different types:
- Functional orthotics: These are used to control range of motion and correct biomechanical abnormalities. They are often used to help with injuries like shin splints and tendinitis. Since they are supposed to hold your foot and ankle in a fixed position, they are made of rigid, hard material, such as plastic or graphite.
- Accommodative orthotics: These are similar to inserts in that they are used for extra support or cushioning and are made of softer more pliable material. However, they are typically used for extremely serious situations, such as non-healing diabetic ulcers on the bottom of feet or very painful calluses.
Seeking Medical Help
Orthotics are used to help address a wide variety of problems, everything from plantar fasciitis to calluses. Patients have found a decrease in recovery time with the use of orthotic devices, which is a very big plus. If you have questions about orthotics and how they might benefit you, please call Dr. Peyman Elison and Dr. Viedra Elison at (623) 584-5556 to schedule an appointment at Fixing Feet Institute in Surprise, AZ.